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Thursday, June 01, 2006

New William Powell Bio Coming

William Powell The Life and Films
From Amazon
Editorial Reviews
Book Description "Actor William Powell is perhaps best known for his roles as charming Nick in The Thin Man films and blustery Clarence Day in Life with Father. As diverse as those characters are, they don't begin to reveal the full scope of talent demonstrated by one of Hollywood's most intelligent leading men. Elegant, witty and dignified, Powell created accessible and human characters in a great variety of roles. His talent was such that Powell has a large and growing fan base 50 years after his last film was released, evidenced by the popularity of DVD rereleases and the frequent appearance of his films on cable television.
The focus of this book is Powell’s work in more than 90 films, from the silent era to the age of CinemaScope, woven into the dramatic and touching story of the actor’s life. It begins by leaping into the story of how Powell and actress Myrna Loy were launched into stardom as husband and wife Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man. The next chapter sets the stage for the baby Powell’s entry into the world in 1892 and details his childhood and upbringing. Following chapters trace Powell’s journey into the film industry, his early career as a popular villain, and his transition to talkies in the late 1920s aided by his training in stage. The book then details his early years in talkies, his work at Warner Bros., which turned him into a leading man, and years of stardom at MGM. Farther along the book describes turning points in Powell’s life, the death of lover Jean Harlow, a 21-month hiatus from films while the actor battled cancer, and a new leap to the top in Life with Father. Concluding chapters detail another flurry of films and the actor’s retirement. A filmography lists Powell’s films from 1922 to 1955, including those believed to be lost. "

About the Author
Roger Bryant lives in Midland, Michigan.
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See also:
Gentleman: The William Powell Story by Charles Francisco
The Complete Films of William Powell by Lawrence J. Quirk

10 Comments:

Blogger Carrie said...

Should be a good read - haven't seen the past books on him!

5:31 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

Hi Carrie,

I hope so, Im really looking forward to reading it. The Quirk book gives around 30 some pages of biographical info, but mainly concentrates on his films. I havent read the Francisco book yet, used copies sell for around $100.00.
Thanks for stopping by.

9:05 AM  
Blogger monescu said...

Of the previous two books, Quirk's is vastly superior (and is also much more generous in its allotment of photos). The $100 selling price for the Francisco book is probably only due to its (well deserved) scarcity.

I look forward to the new book (three books on Powell is certainly no overkill for a performer of his importance).

4:59 AM  
Blogger jtk said...

I liked the Quirk book, with it's photos, many of which I've never seen before. Powell is certainly deserving, and due, for a definitive bio, in addition to a documentary.

11:58 PM  
Blogger monescu said...

Well, he did get a documentary, kinda, along with the Loy one on the extra disc in the recent THIN MAN dvd box set. It wasn't the equal of the Loy doc, but it was better than I expected it to be.

4:11 AM  
Blogger jtk said...

I was unaware of the documentary, thanks for that info about the about extra disc on The Thin Man DVD Box Set.

7:54 AM  
Blogger VP19 said...

Glad to hear of a new Powell bio -- he's my all-time favorite actor; love that voice of his -- and only hope it's better than "Gentleman" (which you knew was badly written and edited when it refers to Carole Lombard, proud Hoosier that she was, as being from Ohio).

11:29 AM  
Blogger jtk said...

Hi Vp19,

He's also my favorite actor. I hope the upcoming book is the definitive Powell bio, and I can't wait to read it.
Thanks for visiting.

9:49 AM  
Blogger monescu said...

I've read the new bio, and though I wouldn't say it's necessarily definitive, it's a vast improvement over "Gentleman," and better than Quirk's book in regard to opinions and assessments of the films (too often, Quirk seems to be accepting the contemporary critics views as opinions not to be questioned). Quirk also wrote of some of the lost Powell films as if he himself had seen them. Roger Bryant's opinions about what films do or do not hold up today (and I find his take on them to be fairly reasonable), and makes it clear which films are lost and thus he is citing extant criticism.

11:31 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

Thanks very much for the update and review.
Im glad Bryant gets into which of Powell's films are lost. I know My Ladys Lips 1925 was recently shown at UCLA's 13th Festival of Preservation. I understand She's A Sheik existed in a private collection as late as the mid seventies, but am unaware if it still exists. Id also like to know the status of Senorita and Time to Love.

6:47 AM  

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